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Why Soccer Players Lie Behind The Free Kick Wall

Watch enough soccer, and there are bound to be some interesting moments in a match. The overall flow of the game is one thing, but a lot of the weird formations happen when there’s a free kick.

While every team has its go-to formations when forming a free kick wall, some will use a player lying down behind the free kick wall. It might seem weird to have a player seemingly out of the play, but it’s part of an overall strategy.

A player lying on the ground or crouching down behind the wall can stop the opposition from trying to kick the ball under the defensive wall. Players tend to jump up when a free kick is taken to try to block a shot, which can be countered with a low kick at the right time. Having a player lying down prevents this from happening.

What is the Rule for Lying Down Behind the Wall in Soccer?

No rules exist that prevent a player from lying down behind a wall during a free kick. As long as it’s done the right way, there will be no issues. With that said, two parts of the laws of the game might come into play.

The first one has a hard time being called, but a tripping offense could happen with a player on the ground. The only way this could feasibly be called is if a player is on the ground and stays on the ground well after the free kick.

Players are trying to run around and can’t do it because there’s a player in the way. Without getting out of the way, referees might call a tripping violation.

The other potential call is for unsportsmanlike behavior. Some referees might view lying down as a lack of respect for the game, and since it’s a subjective call, it’s entirely possible.

The average official likely won’t call it, but if players purposely try to be in the way and cause a disturbance, they’ll enforce it.

All in all, teams should have no problem having players lying down behind the wall during a free kick. It’s a sound strategy that has prevented goals.

How Long has Lying Down Behind the Wall Been a Strategy?

This strategy to defend a free kick has only been around for about a decade. Many have credited Richardinho as the creator of the strategy when he played for Campeonato Serie B.

After seeing many players in Brazil start kicking the ball hard and low underneath the jumping wall, it made sense to prevent that from happening with his unique method.

Even though he’s credited as the person to create the strategy, Richardinho isn’t the only one to help popularize the solution. Players like Lionel Messi, Marcelo Brozovic, and Douglas Costa have all taken one for the team and stretched their body on the ground.

When Did Players Start Going Under a Free Kick Wall?

There is no need for a defender to lie on the ground if teams don’t using low kicks as a strategy. Since teams would jump up in the air to prevent an aerial attack, slipping one underneath the wall made sense in the right situations.

This practice started a little before defenses started having players on the ground behind the wall. It makes sense, as the defense is only reacting to strategies put together by the offense.

Maybe the most famous player to use this method was Ronaldinho. In his prime, he was one of the most dynamic players in the game.

He was always coming up with new crafty options to score, and this one kept the defense guessing. Many players have tried it these days, and it’s led to goals at numerous levels of play.

What Do Players Need to Watch Out for When Lying on the Ground?

The biggest issue that players might run into when lying on the ground is making accidental contact with the ball using their arms or hands. This would be a penalty that would give the opposition a great chance to score.

To help prevent this, players will lie down with their back to the free kicker. This also ensures that there won’t be a ton of pain if the ball hits off their body.

Depending on the angle of the free kick, it might make sense for a team to have two players form a mini wall of their own. This will cover any shots from finding a way into the net underneath the main wall.

Scrambling back into position is crucial to control the game after the free kick. Players need to be able to bounce up quickly and be ready to go.

A lot of players will crouch down at first so that they can watch the setup of the free kick. As soon as they hear the ball is kicked, they jump up when the ball makes contact with a defender.

The Future of Lying Down Behind a Free Kick Wall

Teams are always looking for new ways to create scoring opportunities. There have been instances where free kicks have curled around the wall and the players lying down. While this type of defense is not 100% foolproof, it’s a decent opportunity to limit goals.

Don’t expect there to be any rules against this defense, as a team is just trying to limit a goal in any way possible. It is the same as sliding in front of a shot or trying to block it with other parts of the body. As long as a player doesn’t use their arms and hands, they’re good to go.

It’s not the coolest-looking way to defend a shot, but whatever works is a strategy worth exploring. Teams know that having an opportunity to score on a free kick can sway a game. By making a stop, teams dodge a major bullet.